Women's Basketball Holds Press Conference For Hoops For The Cure Classic II

Oct. 17, 2002

Press Conference for AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic II

ASU Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne:

'I would like to take this opportunity to, first of all, thank our sponsors. AstraZeneca was not able to have a representative here today to speak, but we do appreciate so much that they are again the title sponsor of our event. APS and St. Joseph's also are two of our supporting sponsors. We want to say thank you to them and also to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Phoenix affiliate, it's been a great partnership and we really appreciate their efforts in helping us stage this event.

'We have many goals for this event. Our number one goal is definitely to create greater awareness for finding a cure for breast cancer. Also promoting education in our community about the prevalence of this disease and donating money to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Phoenix affiliate, to help, in particular, for breast cancer research and treatment.

'Another goal of ours for this event is to bring leaders, not just from the ASU community, but from the entire state, together to support a tremendous cause and work in unison to better our community.

'Lastly, and certainly not leastly, we are definitely trying to create awareness for college women's basketball and Arizona State women's basketball. We are obviously bringing in three of the premier programs in the country and we will have possibly, until the final four that is, the premier event in the country for the top programs in a one-day, two-game shootout.

'Hopefully we will be selling out Wells Fargo Arena, which is our goal, for the first time in the history of ASU women's basketball. I think that it is a foregone conclusion that it will be sold out. We're donating so many tickets back that we should guarantee that there is a person in every seat. We've had tremendous, tremendous support in terms of corporate ticket packages. At this point we've sold around 6,000 tickets and we still are still just in the beginning stages of a lot of our campaigns.'

'I would like to mention one other thing, we are obviously not playing an outdoor game this year. We are having a unique component to this event. We have a rally song for this event, which was written by ASU two-time All American Kym Hampton. She also was a three time WNBA All-Star for the New York Liberty. She is recently retired, and is embarking on a singing career, she has written a song for this event. She is going to fly out here for the game, and perform that song at the event, so we are very excited about that. The song is completed but we do not have it here today. We're hoping to have that soon and possibly get it out on the airwaves.'

Rita Bostick, Chairman of Fundraising for Susan G. Komen Foundation, Phoenix Affiliate

'We want to thank ASU and all their sponsors for taking leadership role in women's athletics as well as supporting the community through their support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. We will take the money that they raise and write grants to support treatment, education, and research. That money will come back to benefit Arizona and this is unique to most fundraising organizations and we're really proud of that.'Last year we were able to grant over a million dollars back to Arizona but we fell short of fulfilling all of our grants. We had two-thirds of our grant requests not funded. We're working very hard and Charli, ASU and all of their sponsors are just so active in helping us and we thank them very much.'

Marty Schultz, Vice President of Government Affairs for Pinnacle West and Chairman of ASU Alumni Association

'[The ASU Alumni Association] is 280, 000 strong, some of those are out of state or out of country, but those in Arizona are more than welcome and encouraged to come to this game. As some of you know I got involved with this kind of event when the concept of the outdoor game occurred. That was a huge success as you know.'Believe it or not this is the second classic, and if you look at the lineup of teams that Charli has talked about, you think about the importance of the fundraising that Rita talked about. These are all extremely key to this event and are part of the goal structure.''From my personal standpoint, there is something else going on here that is at least parallel, maybe not overarching, but at least parallel, and that is that the young people, primarily young women but not exclusively, come to this game because the corporate contributions allow for these tickets to be distributed to soccer teams, basketball teams, to a number of youth programs around the state. Not just the valley but the state, and they will come from all over. They get to see the best and the brightest, and frankly in today's society the more positive role modeling we have for our young people, the better off (we are).'

'I think that this women's basketball program and the other three teams that are coming put four top teams on the court. Tremendous role modeling and positive images have an impact on the fans and the audience that is going to be there. I think that is a huge part of our overall goal objectives, as well as giving some focus to ASU women's basketball, raising the money, and using it as previously described. This is a big event and I'm happy to be part of it.'

Questions from the media

How much planning goes into this event, how early is it started and who came up with the idea of going to a four-team format?

Charli Turner Thorne:

'I knew that our game plan was to do it every two years, because logistically there is so much involved to do it every year just wasn't feasible for our people at Arizona State and all the support we need for this event. I think we started, probably six or seven months after that first event in beginning planning stages anyway.

'If I recall correctly, that was Gene Smith's idea. Our Athletic Director was really in favor of bringing more teams into the mix and, in particular, for the women's basketball aspect. There has never been this caliber of women's basketball in the valley. He thought that would be exciting, and we all agreed.'

How do you think the students on campus reacted to the issue that maybe they haven't had to deal with and how does that prevent breast cancer?

ASU Player Jen Albert:

'I think that it's not something that a lot of college students are aware of, and I think by bringing this event to the ASU campus, it does create more awareness. Some of the students in my classes were out at the race for the cure last weekend, and it was awesome to see some of them out there and it also led to opportunities to tell them about our event and get the word out. I think just by making it more well known, that then the students will react well and want to come and be a part of it, because it's a really exciting thing that has never been on our campus before.'

ASU Player Kylan Loney

'Almost every person I've ever talked to has been affected by breast cancer in some way. Whether you like women's basketball or have never attended a women's basketball game, it's a great time for you to come out and show your support for women all across the country. It shows that you're thinking and caring about what they're going through.'

Are you surprised that you are the first program in the country to be doing this type of an event for a cause such as breast cancer?

Charli Turner Thorne:

'I don't know if I'm surprised but I know that we are precedent setting. I know that we are the only college women's basketball program in the country that is spending their own time, energy, and resources, to stage these events that raise money for an outside cause. We always raise money for ourselves, because we need to, but I sure hope that it does catch on. I do think that there are a lot of programs out there that are probably in a greater position than us to have the Hoops for the Cure game, and to raise money for this cause, or any other cause. I know that our event has sparked incredible conversation in the women's basketball community. Which is good, it motivates people to be proactive and to do some things on their own. In Colorado they were thinking about doing an event for Multiple Sclerosis, and I know a lot of programs have talked about doing a similar event for the same cause.'

Have you publicized the Classic much and how to you plan to publicize up until the event and sell so many tickets?

Charli Turner Thorne:

'We just did a media release in May, so this is our first and only press conference until the event. We sort of waited to announce it until we were a little bit closer to basketball season. There really hasn't been a release out there in terms of ticket sales. We haven't really begun our campaign in terms of television and radio or soliciting a lot of individual ticket sales for the event. We have just started to contact high schools in terms of getting pass lists. A lot of the youth groups that attended last time will want to attend again. I am anticipating over the next month we will more than triple the numbers in terms of our youth groups that are taking advantage of the donated tickets. We're obviously hoping that this community steps up, and that they want to be in a position to support this women's cause and women in general.'

Marty Schultz:

'If you look at the way tickets are scaled, we are in a situation now where small, medium, and large business can help out. Tickets are priced in the upper bowl at four and eight dollars. For a several thousand-dollar contribution, we can literally get several hundred ticket packages together, and these tickets can be made available to the employees of that company. Often times the companies donate the tickets back so that the youth groups can be in attendance for all the right reasons. That is really going to be the pitch when you think about the larger corporations that have already contributed, AstraZeneca as the major sponsor. We're beginning to put the financial pieces in place, and now, it's going to be a broader sales package. That's what the preparation has been in the last several months.'

'I think we're on track, but that doesn't minimize at all the amount of work that is going to have to occur. Getting the word out in this market, with all that's going on, not withstanding how important this actually is in terms of the event, the quality of the players, and the quality of the reason of the event, it's still is a challenge to get the word out. It's going to take a lot of work to accomplish the goal which we fully intend to do.'

How can people or groups purchase tickets?

Marty Schultz:

'They can call (480) 727-0000 to order the tickets directly for groups. Corporations will be contacted but if they call that number they can be referred to women's basketball and a sponsorship packet can be arranged for them. The tickets are sold through the ticket office at ASU, plus, there will be a lot of independent contacts by mail and by phone to corporations and businesses who we have identified who will have an interest in making a contribution to this game, bring in some of their employees, and donate some tickets to the youth groups that will make up the 14,000 sellout crowd for this game.'

Charli Turner Thorne adds in...

'In short, the ASU ticket office at (480) 965-2381 can be called for individuals and (480) 965-9576 for faxed applications for ticket packages. You can go online and order at hoopsforthecure.org. ASU Students are free to all ASU women's basketball games.'

What does it feel like playing in this type of an event after already seeing the impact of the original Hoops for the Cure Classic? (question directed at ASU player Jen Albert who will be playing in her second Hoops for the Cure Classic)

'Just thinking about it, it was amazing and it was incredible to be a part of it and I don't think I realized it at the time. Looking back now, I'm so thankful that I had that experience. Not only was that the first women's basketball game outside and it brought publicity to ASU women's basketball, it was for such a good cause. It was a good experience and I'm excited to continue that with this event.'

Where do you find the balance after the ball is tipped off between the game and the underlying cause the game is being played for?

Kris Ewing, Assistant Director of the ASU Intergroup Relations Center:

'Well, the good news is, we have the two-time defending Pac-10 Champions returning so we stand in a good situation to win the game on two levels. This is an investment in the ASU community and the greater Valley community, and now at a national level, around breast cancer and other service activities and it shows that it is an ongoing effort. While it may not always be visible to the public those that are impacted by breast cancer, the public will know that ASU women's basketball has been contributing to their game, to help them to have a positive outcome. This will be an ongoing movement. By making this event very visible, and having the women's basketball team be the champions that they are, this will keep the visibility around breast cancer issues alive.

Charli Turner Thorne:'We try to keep the momentum going with other events throughout the year. There will actually be a Hoops for the Cure night at a [Phoenix] Suns game this year.'

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